The Penalty for Indecent Exposure
It is a criminal offense to openly display your private parts or genitals. Acts like public nudity, “flashing,” and urinating in public are considered indecent exposure. However, breastfeeding a baby publicly does not constitute indecent exposure. It is only committed if you engage in public sexual behavior that exposes your private parts.
Indecent exposure is a sex crime attracting harsh punishment under Michigan law. Unlike other sex offenses, it may not necessarily be committed against someone else or when another person is present. In some cases, it could even be committed accidentally.
Under Michigan law, Section 750.335a provides:
750.335a(2)(a): Any individual who exposes his or her person or another individual’s person and does so knowingly, in a way that is open or indecent, is guilty of indecent exposure, a misdemeanor sex crime offense in Michigan.
There are two subdivisions of indecent exposure, which include:
750.335a(2)(b): Aggravated Indecent Exposure. If an individual not only exposes his or her private body parts, but also fondles suggestive areas, he or she is guilty of aggravated indecent exposure. This will result in criminal penalties, which are more severe.
750.335a(2)(c): Indecent Exposure by a Sexually Delinquent Person. When an individual exposes his or her person and is already known to be sexually delinquent, he or she is guilty of indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person. The penalties for a conviction are extremely severe and may include life in prison.
Penalty for Indecent Exposure
Indecent exposure is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum 1–year term at the county jail. Anyone convicted of an indecent exposure charge may also pay a maximum fine of $1,000 and additional court costs.
Section 750.335a of the Michigan Penal Code states that:
(1) A person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a crime, as follows:
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) or (c), the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.
(b) If the person was fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breasts while violating subsection (1), the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years, or a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.
(c) If the person was at the time of the violation a sexually delinquent person, the violation is punishable by imprisonment for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which is one day and the maximum of which is life.
These details all are per the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.
Aggravated Indecent Exposure and Indecent Exposure by a Sexually Delinquent Person
Under indecent exposure laws in Michigan, you could face harsher charges if the offensive act is considered aggravated. This crime occurs when you fondle or touch your breasts, buttocks, genitals, or pubic area in a lewd manner. It also occurs if you engage in a sexual act or lewd conduct in the presence of a minor.
It is an act of willful exposure of your private parts. It is intentionally committed to stimulate sexual gratification in someone else. Sometimes, it may also be to intimidate another person.
Although it is a misdemeanor, this offense carries harsher punishments. A person found guilty of an aggravated indecent exposure charge may receive a sentence of up to two years in prison. A fine of up to $2,000 may also be imposed as an alternative. The offender may also be both imprisoned and fined in some cases.
A sexually delinquent person may be subjected to stricter penalties. They may receive an imprisonment sentence for an undetermined period, ranging between one day to life imprisonment.
Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Fight an Indecent Exposure Charge?
Suppose you or a loved one are charged with any lewd conduct in Michigan. In this case, you need to retain the services of a Michigan sex crimes lawyer. The courts firmly enforce Michigan’s indecent exposure laws, and sex offenders are severely punished. Therefore, you need sex crime lawyers to guide you with court processes and dealing with law enforcement agents.
Even though it is a misdemeanor, a conviction for indecent exposure goes on your criminal record, subjecting you to societal stigma and shame. So, you must hire a criminal defense lawyer to fight for you and develop aggressive sexual assault defense strategies in court to avoid a conviction for indecent exposure and subsequent punishment.
In some situations, you could also face aggravated indecent exposure charges or be charged as a sexually delinquent person. You need an experienced criminal sexual conduct attorney to defend you in such cases because the punishment is harsher, and you could be imprisoned for life (see: is indecent exposure a felony?).
At Blank Law, PC, we fight for those accused of sex crimes in Michigan. We have handled several indecent exposure cases and helped criminal defendants stay out of jail. We can also help you create an aggressive criminal sexual conduct defense that could get the authorities to drop the charges brought against you or reduce the punishment. Call or message contact our legal team for a free consultation.
Is the Michigan Sex Offender Registry a Requirement if Convicted of Indecent Exposure?
Defendants convicted of sex crimes in Michigan are required to register as a sex offender. Although indecent exposure is a misdemeanor, being convicted can result in sex offender registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. A delinquent person convicted of felony indecent exposure charges must comply with the sex offender registration requirement as well.
The sex offender registry keeps track of sex offenders’ private and public criminal histories in Michigan. The criminal records maintained by the registry may be private or public. Only the Michigan state police can access the private sex offender registry. However, the public registry is open to anyone interested.
When registering as a sexual offender, convicted defendants are required to provide the following details:
● Their name
● Date of birth
● Address of temporary or permanent residence
● Social security number
● Place of education
● Employer’s name and address, along with any other pertinent work-related information
Additionally, they might be asked about their vehicle, license plate, or intended out-of-state travel itinerary (see: can sex offenders travel?). Those registering as sex offenders usually need assistance from sex offender lawyers in the state.
What are the Legal Defenses to an Indecent Exposure Charge?
Ignorance is not a valid defense if you face indecent exposure charges. You could be convicted of indecent exposure and even sentenced even if you were unaware that you were in a public place or that your action is considered indecent exposure. Therefore, you need a skilled CSC defense attorney to help you beat the charges brought against you.
You can avoid an indecent exposure conviction by showing that you were not caught doing an indecent act. It could also be a valid defense if you can prove that you were not in a public place or were otherwise hidden from view.
Additionally, you could have a defense against sex crime charges if you have been wrongfully accused or you are the victim of mistaken identity. The mistake may be on the part of the complainant or law enforcement authorities.
Another legal defense is that you did not touch or flash your private parts for sexual gratification. Also, it could be a good defense if the police used entrapment or a set-up to coerce you into engaging in an indecent act in public.
Choose the Right Attorney Your Indecent Exposure Charges: Hire Michigan Attorney Nicole Blank Becker and Blank Law, PC
Although indecent exposure is a misdemeanor sex crime under Michigan law, you risk jail time and paying a fine if convicted. The severity of the punishment depends on the circumstances surrounding the commission of the alleged offense. Therefore, you must build a solid defense strategy to avoid being convicted and punished.
You need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you want to fight indecent exposure charges. The Michigan criminal justice system can be daunting, mainly if you are unfamiliar with its operation. So, you should consult sexual assault lawyers to protect yourself or a family member from an indecent exposure conviction.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a skilled female criminal defense lawyer handling sex crimes. She can work with you to create a solid defense strategy to increase your chances of staying out of your county jail.
Once you establish an attorney-client relationship with her, she will protect the confidential or sensitive information you share with her. She will also advise you on the best defense available to you. This contact form sends information about your case straight to Attorney Nicole Blank Becker’s desk, and she will have her army of legal professionals working on your case immediately!